15 Rose End Avenue
Phone: 01629 825 431
Governance & Resources (substitute)
Joint Consultative Group
Local Plan Advisory (substitute)
"I was born in an age when social care and responsibility towards others in the community was systemic. For the first seventeen years of my life I lived in a block of post war built council flats in London where we all struggled to make ends meet and looked out for each other as a consequence. Most of our parents voted Labour and revered those in the Labour Party who had brought about the NHS, Nationalised Railway systems, and provided decent schooling for their children. It is a legacy that I am proud of.
All of my uncles, and there were quite a few of them, were coopers making barrels for Watneys Brewery in South West London. They and those around them gloried in their skills and could see nothing wrong in following an apprenticeship in order to make a good living later on in life. I feel that pride in workmanship has been lost over the years mainly because of the drive towards “Higher Education”. The emphasis on academic progress has created an ideology that has isolated the working man and woman and this has been debilitating for all of us in society as a whole. What is “Higher” about getting a degree: as far as I can see, nothing at all. Men and women, skilled in manufacturing often struggled for five years to become masters of their craft and they were appreciated. We have to ask why are they not in this day and age?
The idea that ordinary working people, who have equally valuable skills seated in a different type of incredible knowledge, are valuable to the Community is just not fashionable. The rise of service industries has swept all that away and with the loss of our manufacturing base and the debasement of a skilled workforce a large percentage of the people in this country feel unappreciated and without a say in their own lives. This has translated into the loss of the will to vote. “Why should we bother?” they say and one can see why. This has pushed many hardworking people into the background and devalued their place in our society almost disenfranchising them. Certainly it has led to lower wages and the loss of pride in a British manufacturing base for the economy. The argument that we operate in a world wide scenario is just not supportable. Our skill base is being eroded and meanwhile we import from abroad. That cannot be good for this country.
Even before being elected District Councillor for Masson Ward of Derbyshire Dales District Council I felt very strongly that the voice of the people should be heard more at a local and national level. This seems to be increasingly true now that we have to address the many problems that Central Government cuts and policies are forcing on us. These are policies and cuts which, of course, mainly affect the less affluent in society.
When asked to do this little piece about myself, I thought “where do I start?” Well, I started with the past, which all of us have as our base. Although it is clear to see it is not just my past – it is a communal past and one that we in the Labour Party have much to be proud of. For now trying to overcome the awful difficulties we have gone through with the Election result and for the years to come, perhaps frighteningly in the wilderness for a while, we have to remember what went before and build on that, find strength in that.
That is what I shall be doing, working for the people as we all did when I was a child, and fighting for rights together. Re-establishing the right for everyone in this country to earn a decent wage, to be appreciated for what they do, whatever the kind of work it is - in a word to be valued and listened to.